On March 28, nearly 10,000 Los Angeles Iranian Americans of various religions, including local Iranian Jews, celebrated the Persian New Year of No Ruz on Westwood Boulevard in Westwood Village, with the official naming of a street corner as Persian Square. Los Angeles City Council man for District 5, Paul Koretz, was on hand for the ceremony; he introduced a motion in the council to name the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Wilkins Street as Persian Square earlier this year.
“This sign is in recognition of the first Persian business established in Westwood and the city in 1974, and in appreciation for how the Persian community has given back to the city in so many great ways over the years,” Koretz said.
Last year, Koretz narrowly won his city council seat in a tight election with the wide support of local Iranian Americans in the city who primarily live and work in his district. No Ruz is an ancient secular new year celebrated by Iranians of different faiths worldwide to mark the beginning of spring with parties, dancing and the giving of money as gifts.
Other elected officials on hand for the Persian Square gathering included L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Beverly Hills’ Iranian-Jewish
Mayor Jimmy Delshad. Last month, Delshad was installed to serve his second term as mayor of Beverly Hills, a position that rotates annually among the city council members.
In addition to the No Ruz event in Westwood, the L.A. City Council honored the holiday in an official ceremony at City Hall last month, and on April 4 several thousand local Iranian Americans celebrated the end of the holiday at a Persian festival held at Balboa Park in Lake Balboa.
To view Karmel Melamed’s video interviews with Koretz, Greuel and Delshad on the No Ruz celebrations, visit jewishjournal.com/iranianamericanjews/.